Aston Villa boss Tim Sherwood has joked during a press conference that he’ll use the FA Cup final to his advantage when it comes to signing Manchester United midfielder Tom Cleverley.
The 25-year-old has experienced a remarkable upturn in fortunes since leaving Old Trafford for Villa Park on loan last summer and, though his new side aren’t going to be offering him Champions League football anytime soon, he could well end up making the move permanent.
Villa are amongst a host of clubs - Bundesliga high-flyers VfL Wolfsburg included - who are set to try and negotiate with Cleverley at the end of the season when his United deal runs out, and Sherwood hinted that he won’t be afraid to use underhand tactics in order to ensure he has the biggest advantage possible.
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"I'm just going to tell him if he don't sign he's not playing in the cup final," Sherwood laughed.
All jokes aside it looks like Villa will face an uphill battle in convincing Cleverley to stick with Sherwood’s project, purely because there are bigger clubs sure to have been alerted by his form this season.
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A high work-rate and more than one exceptional display have seen the Old Trafford flop pushed into the media spotlight for positive reasons for the first time in a long while, and if any of his other suitors can offer him European football Cleverley would be forgiven for leaving relegation-threatened Villa.
No United return
The only certainty is that he won’t be returning to United, where his contract runs out at the end of June. During the latter years of Sir Alex Ferguson and particularly the solitary season under David Moyes Cleverley cut a poor figure in the middle of the park who was regularly chastised by fans for not being of the acceptable standard.
His position might be more optimistic now, but even the player himself isn’t going to expect to don a Red Devils shirt again anytime soon.
Only yesterday did Cleverley make it clear that he would consider Villa as his next destination due to how much he’s enjoyed playing for them this year. With the competition for places in Louis van Gaal’s United squad though he already looks to have resigned himself to not being handed a new deal.
United fans, will you miss Cleverley? Could he ever return in the future? Let us know your thoughts in the comments box below.
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